IPSN, June 4, 1997
The Memoirs of a Street Agent
By Richard Lindberg
At a time when corruption and malfeasance infested the halls of justice in Cook County, Paul Davis Newey built a strong reputation as someone who could not be bought, sold, or compromised by the forces of evil who permeated this tough working man’s town where politics and clout counted for everything.
Chicago, circa 1956. Corruption in the traffic court. Corruption in the police department, corruption in City Hall, corruption everywhere. Then an election surprise and a beacon of hope for those who had abandoned hope of reforming wicked old Chicago.
Benjamin Adamowski, an alderman’s son, was elected Cook County State’s Attorney in a bruising campaign that exposed a chink in the armor of the previously invincible Democratic organization. Adamowski, a political maverick interested in reforming local government, had recently broken ranks with the party and his longtime friend Richard J. Daley, to become a Republican in this bastion of Democratic machine politics.
Politically it was a kiss of death – not a good career move for a politician trying to recast the city in a positive image, but Ben was driven by ambition and he always marched to his own drummer – surrounded by men with high ideals and a pragmatic vision of life. Men like Paul Davis Newey, the son of an immigrant Assyrian minister who conducted his ministry in Chicago and Minneapolis where Paul was born in 1914.
Paul Newey’s grandparents toiled as rug merchants in Chicago. And as a youngster Paul was taught Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ according to ancient biblical text.
Instilled with deep religious convictions but influenced by Warner Brothers’ screen portrayal of gangsters and G-Men in a score of 1930s Hollywood films, Newey enrolled in John Marshall Law School in order to qualify for admittance to the FBI. Armed with a law degree, strong academic credentials, and a tough physical and mental comportment, he counted on becoming a G-Man himself, but the dark-complected young Assyrian-American did not exactly match the desired ethnic profile J. Edgar Hoover was striving for when hiring new Agents. In other words, non-WASP’s need not apply.
Instead, Newey joined the U.S. Secret Service in Washington, earning $1,200 a year. After a couple of years in the service of his country in the Counter Intelligence Corps of the U.S. Army Reserve, Newey hooked up with the Federal Narcotics Bureau, becoming something of an expert on drug trafficking at a time when the problem was mostly confined to the inner city neighborhoods and downtown “honky tonk” districts. Cultivating informants in order to build a solid case became his specialty. While working in Detroit, Paul established levels of trust with a junkie pickpocket named Black Sam who followed the heavyweight champion Joe Louis into every major city and tank town from Maine to California. While the “Brown Bomber” slugged it out in the ring, Black Sam worked the crowd – dipping into people’s pockets.
Agent Newey “turned” Black Sam into a reliable informant who helped him build cases. Black Sam also taught him an essential truth about the character of his home town – Chicago.
“Newey, I can tell you this,” Black Sam confided to him in an unguarded moment. “Of all the cities I worked, Chicago is the most corrupt as far as politics and the police are concerned. It is the only town I know of where the cops will pick your pockets clean after a pinch. In any other town, once they found the needle tracks on my arm, I would be locked up for the night with enough money to leave town the following morning. But in Chicago they would not leave me enough money for carfare. That’s how greedy the cops were in Chicago.”
Paul Newey never forgot what Black Sam told him. The thought was uppermost in his mind in 1957, when he returned to the Windy City looking for work, after five years of service with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) The veteran criminal investigator and licensed attorney is reluctant to discuss the specific nature of his work with the CIA – such information still remains classified after all these years – but in some ways it prepared him for his adventures in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office working for Ben Adamowski as Chief Investigator.
“Chicago really had the worst reputation as far as its police department was concerned,” he recalls. “There were some fine men back then – I didn’t know Frank Pape that well, but the most honest cops of that era that I personally knew were John Ascher, Chief of Detectives, and Joe Morris of the old Scotland Yard detail.”
“The best thing that ever happened to the Chicago Police Department was the reformation that took place after the Summerdale Scandal of 1960.”
Overlooked in the history of those desperate times is the role Paul Newey played in unraveling Chicago’s most notorious police scandal; one that involved eight burglar cops assigned to the old Summerdale District (now Foster Avenue). In 1958-1959, the eight men conspired with Richard Morrison, Chicago’s most adept cat burglar, and a criminal mastermind, to break and enter dozens of retail stores in Edgewater-Uptown neighborhoods. The crooked Summerdale police officers kept all of the plundered loot – Morrison, who opened the stores, sabotaged the alarms, and acted as lookout, pocketed whatever cash he could remove from the safe
As Chief Investigator in the State’s Attorney’s office, Newey was in charge of an elite ten-man unit responsible for gathering the evidence necessary for his boss, Ben Adamowski, to present a solid case to a grand jury. Newey painstakingly assembled his team, knowing that Chicago politics, being what they are, would affect these men down the road. Therefore, he recruited men like Dan McCarthy and Bill Tuttle, drawn from the FBI, and Bob Schroeder, a federal narcotics investigator.
“I avoided using Chicago policemen and I’ll tell you why,” Newey explains. “From the very beginning I knew that when our team left the office these men would be punished if they became involved in some of the things we were doing that had political overtones, for instance the Summerdale raids. As a result they would have to suffer after we left office. On that basis I rarely used them.”
Paul Newey and his squad compiled an impressive dossier following successful raids against Frankie LaPorte’s gambling strongholds and strip clubs in Calumet City, where a sordid white slave ring that lured young Canadian girls and aspiring actresses into a life of prostitution was uncovered.
Cook County Sheriff Frank Sain wasn’t interested in closing down the cesspools of vice and gambling. Throughout his dismal term of office as sheriff, Frank Sain was excoriated by Chicago Crime Commission Executive Director Virgil Peterson, who sent him weekly correspondence containing the addresses of all of the big-time clip joints and gambling hell holes in the city with a stern warning to do something – memoranda Sheriff Sain deposited in his circular file.
“Sain was “acceptable” as far as they (the Outfit) were concerned,” Newey states. “When I was going to law school we had a professor at John Marshall who said there are two offices in the County of Cook where you can go in as clean as the driven snow and never come out the same way you went in.”
“One is the State’s Attorney’s office and the other is the Sheriff’s office,” Newey adds. “With the Sheriff’s office the only reason they limited you to four years is because they figured that if you can’t steal enough to last you a lifetime, then you’re not worth your salt.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Until 1970, a Cook County Sheriff was limited to one term of office.
In 1959 Newey secured an indictment against a kidnapper based on hypnosis evidence. He was one of the first investigators in this country to utilize truth serum and hypnosis as a means to solve a criminal case. The 19-year-old female victim described her assailant who was later identified and charged. However the evidence against the defendant was excluded and the trial ended in acquittal. It was a controversial tactic for the times – Newey was ridiculed by his peers – but he was never afraid to break new ground or use whatever resources were available to him to build a profile of a suspect.
Then came the mother of all police scandals and new dilemmas.
At the time of Summerdale, Newey’s men were investigating a ticket-fixing scandal in traffic court when Jim Doherty, an assistant public defender who was representing the incarcerated Morrison, came to him with an amazing tale of police graft – one that was sure to blow the lid off of the whole rotten system of Chicago justice and expose the links between the criminal underworld and the Chicago Police Department.
“Doherty had a private practice on the side – it was a common thing in those days for a lawyer,” Newey explains. “But when he discovered that Morrison and the eight cops were hitting Western Auto Supply – one of his clients, he was furious. That’s when Jim made arrangements with his boss to have a personal conference with Adamowski. Ben told him that if he talked to me he was talking to him.”
Newey took a statement from Richie Morrison that ran 76 pages long and presented it to Adamowski. Morrison ticked off an amazing list of names, dates, places, and vivid details concerning the North Side burglaries he committed in league with the crooked cops.
The evidence was incontrovertible and the implications were menacing. Just how far would this lead? Was the entire police department rife with corruption? The answer to that question seemed fairly obvious. At the very least the Morrison confession was political fodder for the enemies of Mayor Richard J. Daley, and Ben Adamowski was a powerful political foe who had broken ranks with the Democrats in 1955 after the party had dumped his friend, the former Mayor Martin J. Kennelly, from the ticket, and slated the ambitious Daley in his place.
Over the years Ben Adamowski has been tarred as a political opportunist who sought the Chicago mayoralty at any cost. According to the historian’s conventional wisdom, the Summerdale revelations provided the means to feather Ben’s nest for the 1963 mayoral election – an accusation which Paul Newey, his trusted assistant and future law partner hotly denies.
“I told Ben this Summerdale burglary ring was a very bad situation. I didn’t know what to do about it. He said we got to go on it. I said if we have to go, we have to bring in the police department. If we do it alone they will scream to high heaven that its political.”
“The only way to do this would be to call in the brass of the police department and see if they would go along with us,” Newey advised. “It’ll take two judges to get warrants for a nighttime search and we won’t be able to get warrants from any of the Democratic judges. Right away their hackles will go up, but if we walk in there with the police brass we won’t have any problems.”
Newey summoned the departmental brass to a private meeting where he round-tabled Morrison’s 76-page confession. The head of the traffic division, the chief of detectives – everyone except the hapless Commissioner Timothy O’Connor who was out of town and on the verge of losing his job, were present for the meeting.
“I said let’s take a vote and to a man they said we have no choice. We have to get warrants and arrest all the policemen for burglary. So how could that be political?” Newey wonders.
The scandal finally broke in January of 1960. Armed with search warrants, Newey’s raiders roused the eight cop-burglars from their warm beds and hauled them downtown to the Union League Club for an all-night interrogation.
The press instantly seized upon the story of the “Babbling Burglar” and within a few days, O’Connor was made the scapegoat by Daley, and forced to resign. It was a political crisis of grave magnitude and one that demanded swift action. Chicago Police captains and much of the ruling cadre were transferred or demoted while the Mayor convened a blue-ribbon panel to locate a successor who could break the stranglehold of political influence peddling and graft that permeated the department.
O.W. Wilson, a criminologist from the University of California was such a man. Within a year’s time the leaky boat was patched and the mechanisms of reform were solidly in place.
For the State’s Attorney and his chief investigator, heartache followed. In many respects, Summerdale was the high point of Ben Adamowski’s roller-coaster career, but the political back wash accompanying their pre-pre-Greylord investigations and the unhealthy stench surrounding the Morrison case proved devastating. As Newey points out: “In many ways it was the kiss of death for us. For a long time after we lost the office I couldn’t go into a courtroom without the Democratic judges giving us a bad time.”
Paul Newey is understandably bitter when he reviews the vote fraud chicanery surrounding Ben’s 1960 re-election loss to Dan Ward.
“The focus of the 1960 election was not really to defeat [Republican presidential candidate] Richard Nixon, it was to defeat Adamowski,” he said. “We were creating bedlam in Cook County, so they knew they had to do something. That election was stolen from Ben – I have no doubt about that.”
Newey shudders as he recalls election night, 1960, and the underhanded tactics employed by Daley’s West Side Bloc tricksters who controlled Chicago’s “River Wards” where the election was really lost. The margin of defeat: 26,000 votes out of 2.4 million cast. The Cook County Republicans were reduced to their lowest ebb of power since 1936 by the time the smoke had cleared.
“The way the election returns came in,” Newey shakes his head and chuckles at the thought. “We were up all night before we knew it would be a loser. Ben wanted a recount but the Republican National Committee didn’t come up with the kind of money we needed. Nixon wasn’t that anxious for a recount because he feared it would tear the country apart.”
Adamowski was down – but not out. He entered into a private law practice with Paul Newey and Francis X. Riley, while plotting a political comeback that never really materialized. Ben challenged Daley in 1963 – and lost. He took a stab at the Cook County Assessor’s office a few years later, but the Republicans turned their back on him by this time. “Ben’s problem was that he was too honest,” Newey contends.
Meanwhile, Daley’s imposing “Chicago Machine” had already flexed its muscle against those who had caused him so much embarrassment in 1960.
“After we left office they did everything they could in order to compromise us by putting the IRS on Ben and I,” Newey believes. “Mayor Daley had Washington in his hip pocket. Ben and I were both investigated by the IRS intelligence unit which means they were trying to build criminal cases against us. My wife Viola was so fearful that we would be set up, she had a nervous breakdown. They went through all of my tax returns for six years and you know what? Ben ended up with a refund.”
Nowadays, Paul Newey continues his legal practice, but he limits his time to pro-bono immigration work on behalf of members of the Assyrian community.
Ben Adamowski, his lifelong friend, passed away in 1982, but the memories are still fresh in Paul’s mind. There is still one vexing issue – a piece of unfinished business from the past left for Newey to ponder. Who exactly was Richard B. Cain?
Newey is sorting out fact from the fiction in a book length manuscript he hopes to publish with veteran Chicago Tribune reporters Edward Baumann and John O’Brien about this mystery man Cain.
“Just before the 1960 election the Republican National Committee decided that they had to have some activity in Chicago to aide in the upcoming national election,” Newey relates. “So they started a special unit on organized crime and at first they gave Elroy C. Sandquist the opportunity to take the job as a special assistant attorney general to prosecute Tony Accardo. After Sandquist turned it down, they asked Richard Ogilvie, an up-and-comer in Republican politics, if he would be interested, and he was as it turned out.”
There was considerable bad blood spilled between Ogilvie and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who refused to assist the investigation at any level. In desperation, Ogilvie contacted Adamowski with an offer.
“He said I’ve got a couple who have been helping me from the Chicago P.D. and I think they are honest cops, and if you can have them transferred over to your police force then I’ll be able to use them,” Newey remembers. “Ben told Ogilvie to send them over to Paul Newey and if he thinks they are acceptable then we’ll bring them in.”
In walked Cain, a squat looking figure with horned rimmed glasses and a menacing disposition. With him, his partner Gerald Shallow.
“I used to screen all the cops that worked for me,” Newey said. “I later found out that they had been recommended to Ogilvie by Jack Mabley of the Chicago American. So I had one or two of my trusted cops check them out – one of them was Sergeant Jim Hoy.”
Hoy shook his head incredulously and said: “Chief, your not going to bring those guys here are you? He didn’t say anymore, but he didn’t have to. The body language spoke well enough.”
Cain already carried around a lot of baggage. He was a prime suspect in the murder of Harry Figel, an Englewood blackmailer whose mangled body was found in back of the Greyhound Bus Terminal on Randolph Street. Figel, known as “Uncle Harry” to his associates on the streets, had incurred the wrath of the mob by refusing to pay his street tax. His stock in trade was extorting blackmail money from homosexuals. Cain, who was no stranger to the shakedown racket himself, victimized prostitutes, abortionists, and even threatened to expose a ranking member of the Chicago Police cadre whose sexual preferences were well outside the acceptable mainstream in 1960.
Cain and Shallow allegedly picked up Figel at a restaurant at 63rd and Ashland – one mile west of his headquarters at Cronin’s Bar, 63rd and Halsted. After ending the life of this minor league mobster, they dumped his body in an alley behind the bus station and pled self-defense when questioned by their superiors. At the time, the evidence against Cain and Shallow was flimsy, and the only response coming from 11th and State was a departmental suspension. Later, independent investigators traced the murder weapon (a .25 Beretta automatic) back to Cain – and a suburban gun dealer where the item was purchased under his own name.
Despite the damning allegations against him, Dick Cain was held in high regard by Ogilvie, certain members of the press corps, and more than a few law enforcement officers who considered him a top-notch investigator. Sometimes though you have to take what you are offered.
Under pressure from Ogilvie to bring this guy in, Newey summoned Cain and Shallow to the office and told them that while he couldn’t offer full-time employment, there was an undercover assignment available if they were willing to take a leave of absence from the police department. They would be paid from a secret contingency fund established by the State’s Attorney. The assignment was to spy on Irving N. Cohen, Mayor Daley’s City Commissioner of Investigation – sarcastically known as “Sweep it Under the Rug Cohen”
“Cohen’s job was to keep the city gambling operations under wraps so the mayor would not get dirtied up,” Newey related. “Ben had heard via the grapevine that it was Cohen’s purpose to keep all the book joints going, but under wraps so that the media wouldn’t make an issue of it during an election year. Daley knew they were wide open. It was Cohen’s job to keep things suppressed. So I told these guys if you can check Cohen out and see whose going in and out of his office, I said maybe you can get pictures, and we can start from there.”
Cain and Shallow, these two rogue cops posing as managers of “Accurate Laboratories,” took leave of their jobs and rented an office across the hall from Cohen on Wabash Avenue. About the first or second day they were up there peeking over the transom trying to take shots, someone in Cohen’s office spotted them. Arrests were made and the political fallout compromised Adamowski at a critical moment in the Summerdale investigations.
Shallow mended his fences with the Police Department and was later promoted to sergeant, incredible as it may seem. “Between the two of them they decided Shallow should take the rap and admit to it and Cain should play hard nose,” Newey said. “He was planning to leave the department anyway and go down to Florida and work the Bay of Pigs operation for the CIA. The contract was not with Richard Cain directly – but between the U.S. Government and Sam Giancana.”
Cain was a vassal of Giancana and Giancana was in bed with the Kennedys who were on a mission to rid Cuba of Fidel Castro. Under orders from the Chicago mob boss, Cain opened an office at Rush and Oak, where he recruited Cuban insurgents and soldiers of fortune to go down to South Florida to train as guerilla warriors – a black bag assignment, perfect for one such as Cain.
The Bay of Pigs invasion ended in disaster. It was a black eye fiasco for the president. The rebels that Cain hired and trained in Florida were driven into the sea. But Dick Cain returned to Chicago where he accepted an appointment as Dick Ogilvie’s chief investigator after Ogilvie was elected Cook County Sheriff in 1962. Why Richard Ogilvie, a man of integrity and high ideals, vested so much confidence in Dick Cain who was criminally indicted in 1964 for a complicity in the Louis Zahn warehouse heist and a figure who consorted with a host of shady wise guys until he was assassinated in 1973, remains one of the great enigmas of the age.
It is personally troubling to Paul Newey even to this day, but he continues his efforts to flesh out the real truth behind the man and the myth that is Richard Cain – including persistent rumors that this Chicago mob-cop may have participated in the planning of the Kennedy assassination.
Paul Newey, a member in good standing of the National Police Officers Hall of Fame, is 83 now. He doesn’t move as fast as he used to, but he keeps his finger on the pulse of Cook County government and his opinions and observations carry weight. The passing years have taught him one fundamental truth about crime, politics, and law enforcement – and the Richard Cains who infest the city.
“In this town you have got to be real careful about what you say, and to whom you say it to. You might be talking to your own executioner. Now it’s a lot more sophisticated.”